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Calle Ocho has its fair share of 'Cuban' inspired bars but none like the one you will find at 971 SW 8th St in Little Havana. Put that address into Google Maps and it will lead you to this magical place called Cafe La Trova.

Cafe La trova comes to us from Michelle Bernstein and Julio Cabrera. This is the long-awaited reunion between Bernstein and Cabrera. Bernstein and Cabrera first met in the early 2000's when she was opening a restaurant in Mexico and he was working in the same hotel.

Some years later, they teamed up again at Michy's and Sra. Martinez in the Design District.

Michelle BernsteinNone of them would have ever thought they would work together again on a project. Three years ago, Cabrera came to Bernstein's husband, David Martinez, with the crazy idea of Cafe La Trova.

"At the time, I don't think it was a restaurant. I think it was more of a bar with bites of food. Look at the space, it's 5,000 square feet. It needed and deserved a restaurant," said Bernstein.

To create Cafe La Trova, Michelle, David and Julio took two trips to Cuba. On one of those trips, Bernstein was filming a documentary on Cuban food for SoFlo Taste. That documentary later went on to win an Emmy, but while they were there, they wanted to live 'La Trova' life.  Julio and Michelle both got a gig that took them down to Santiago de Cuba. This is where Michelle and her husband, David, first came in contact with the music, culture, and the energy that was 'La Trova.' While there, they all realized this is what we need to bring to Miami.

Three years later, we have everything they experienced in Santiago de Cuba at Cafe La Trova.

"It is exactly the way I envisioned this place to be," said Cabrera.

You won't find just ordinary Cuban food on the menu.  This is Cuban food - the Bernstein way. Of course, there is croquetas and arroz con pollo, but you could also find Foie Gras Torchon, Duck Leg Confit, Empandas, Beef Short Ribs, just to name a few. Not to mention, you can find live music every night at Cafe La Trova.

Most recently, GQ Magazine named Cafe La Trova one of America's Best New Restaurants.

Julio CabreraAt Cafe La Trova you can get an Authentic Cuban experience including Cantineros, which are Cuban bartenders, that are in a league of their own because thanks to Julio Cabrera they embody the cantinero culture. Cabrera originally wanted to create a cantinero school but didn't think it would fit the space and created an 80's bar instead.

"You get 1950's Cuba in the front and 1980's Cuba in the back so you have the full Miami experience in one space" said Cabrera.

Michelle BernsteinWhen asked to describe this new venture, Bernstein said

"It's a hard thing to describe. Just come and experience it for yourself."

They are open Monday through Saturday for lunch from 12-3 PM and nightly for dinner.


Nick Pena

Founder, Chief Content Creator The Food-E

[email protected]

Nick Pena